We know first-hand that it can be stressful looking for an assisted living facility for your loved one. And once you narrow down your options, deciding on a facility isn’t always easy. Besides verifying the amenities, equipment and creature comforts of the facility, you’ll also want to consider the security measures they have in place. After all, mom and dad deserve to feel safe and secure in their final years.
With this in mind, here are four key security measures every assisted living facility should have.
Residents can’t have 24/7 staff assistance in their rooms, and so, it’s important to have in-room monitoring to ensure resident safety and to notify staff of any critical updates.
For example, motion sensors can be installed inside the room to monitor the resident’s activity. These devices can alert staff when residents need assistance getting out of bed, allowing a staff member to aid them.
Security cameras are vital not just to keep track of residents and improve staff productivity, but for the overall security of the facility.
That is, besides having 24/7 video surveillance in rooms, hallways and elevators, every assisted living facility should have cameras for entrance/exits and parking lots as well. Cameras can help to prevent theft in the facility and greatly boost security for residents, staff and guests.
Video surveillance can also help to ensure the quality assurance of staff in administering medication and monitoring other resources. In case of theft, video footage can also help to resolve liability and theft claims and decrease workers’ compensation.
So be sure to ask about video surveillance and what areas of the property are actively monitored. Or better yet, if you’re able to visit the facility in person, look around for security cameras – you’ll want to see several cameras, covering multiple angles around the facility.
Perimeter Access Control
While video surveillance plays an important role in perimeter security, perimeter access control helps prevent trespassing and keeping residents from exiting the facility without staff or family to accompany them.
Instead of mechanical locks, the facility must have electronic access control with access cards for staff. And the main entrance should have staff and an intercom system to ensure whoever enters the facility has permission to do so.
Access control is especially crucial for memory care units, as residents who have dementia or Alzheimer’s may wander off to other parts of the building or even exit the facility if the building is not properly secured.
Again, for assisted living facilities with memory care units, specialized access control is a must-have, and may include:
- Credential technology for entry/exit, such as keypads with PIN codes for staff, so residents can only access certain parts of the facility with the aid of a staff member.
- Electronic band/pendant for residents that communicates with door-mounted readers. If a resident passes through a restricted door, the system triggers an alarm for the staff.
- Limited entry/exit points (with a fire exit), so as to make it easy for staff to monitor patient movement in the facility.
Safety measures for fire and emergencies are indispensable for any building, but especially so for assisted living facilities where residents may have mobility difficulties and need more time to evacuate in case of emergencies.
What’s more, in most assisted living facilities, sources of fire threats are around every corner – appliances, combustible medical equipment like oxygen tanks, kitchen stoves, etc.
Thus, there should be no cutting corners when it comes to having functional smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers and fire extinguishers, along with a clear fire escape route and plan. We recommend taking the time to look for these safety features in a facility before you decide it’s the right place for mom or dad.
Other Safety Considerations: A Quick Checklist
Besides the four security measures outlined above, here are a few quick questions to ask when determining the security measures taken by an assisted living facility:
- Is the property fenced and well-lit?
- Is there a place in the resident’s room where valuables can be securely locked?
- Are background checks conducted on the staff?
- Is there dedicated security personnel?
- Are the staff well-trained to handle various security issues?
Final Thoughts on Assisted Living Security Measures
We understand the stress involved in finding a comfortable and affordable facility for your loved one. This is why we created this guide…to help you along and to remind you of important considerations that are all-too-often overlooked. From in-room monitoring to video surveillance, and perimeter access control to fire safety – these are all critical points every assisted living facility should cover.
Remember, the “sunset years” are meant to be spent in comfort and care, not worrying about bad actors and criminal activity. So, the upfront legwork in choosing a facility with adequate security will pay off in dividends when it comes to peace of mind.
About The Author –
Rob Gabriele is a professional writer and editor at SafeHome.org. He has extensive experience in the field of home security technology and smart home automation. And he has a passion for distilling complex tech information into easy-to-read and enjoyable content. This lends well to writing and publishing content that empowers people to stay safe and secure in this rapidly changing world. When he’s not crafting premier content in this niche, Rob spends his time enjoying the outdoors or trying to master his air-drum solo of ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins.